Looking at research papers from the past couple of decades, it seems there’s not a lot that CBD can’t cure. From cancer to epilepsy to heart disease, CBD shows a lot of potential in addressing the causes and symptoms of our deadliest ailments. But what about the humble hangover? As it turns out, CBD could help with that as well. Here’s how it works, and how to use it to soothe a painful morning after.
Why do you get hangover?
We all know alcohol isn’t good for us. But why exactly does it make us feel so bad the next day? There are a few different processes involved in creating that classic hangover feeling.
Alcoholic drinks like wine and beer contain something known as ethanol, which is basically pure alcohol. Our bodies turn ethanol into a toxin named acetaldehyde. In a way, this is a good thing because it helps our liver to detoxify and stay healthy. Unfortunately, acetaldehyde can wreak havoc on our whole system and is partially responsible for giving us hangovers. It creates headaches, tires us out and makes us feel nauseous.
Another reason we get hungover is that alcohol dehydrates us. You may think you’re keeping hydrated while drinking alcoholic beverages, but they actually make you lose more fluids than they give you. After a night of drinking, you’ll start to really feel the effects of dehydration. It manifests in headaches, fatigue and body aches.
Alcohol gives you stomach acidity, which makes you feel nauseous and groggy. It also raises your levels of cortisol, which could make you stressed or anxious. All in all, it disrupts many different biological systems, which is why the effects of a hangover can be so wide-ranging.
Of course, the best way to avoid hangovers is to drink less. Staying hydrated and sipping water in between alcoholic drinks can also help. And as studies show, CBD could also be a good option to help you feel better on a hungover day.
How CBD can help you with hangovers
CBD is a molecule found in the cannabis plant that is well-known for its health properties. Unlike its close cousin THC, CBD is not a psychoactive molecule, meaning it doesn’t get you high.
So, using CBD to treat hangovers is not a question of using drugs to treat the aftermath of alcohol! It’s simply a natural way to ease your most painful symptoms using a cannabis derivative. And it can be very powerful! Here are some of the ways how.
CBD treats nausea
Feeling nauseous is one of the most common symptoms of a hangover. You can’t ignore it: the day after you’ve been drunk, it can be hard to even think about eating something. Most of us just wait it out—but what if there was a better solution?
Studies have found that CBD reduces nausea and vomiting, and could be helpful for people with motion sickness or those undergoing chemotherapy. The good news is, it could also work for you, even if all you have is a hangover!
CBD treats pain
Headaches, body aches, muscle aches… these are all common symptoms of a hangover. To deal with them, many of us rush to take Advil or paracetamol. But you may actually be better off taking CBD instead.
Studies show that CBD works as a natural painkiller. Not only is it just as effective as most over-the-counter options, but it also has a lot fewer side-effects. And with methods like sublingual administration or vaping, you can get the painkilling effects of CBD almost instantly.
CBD makes you feel less anxious and depressed
When you feel anxious or low after a heavy night of drinking, it’s not only because of the mistakes you may have made. It’s because alcohol increases your levels of cortisol (the stress hormone). As a result, you’ll often feel anxious or nervous when you’re hungover.
CBD could help with that because it naturally decreases anxiety and lifts up your mood. That means that taking it when hungover could make you feel like your normal self again… or at least somewhat closer to it.
CBD could even protect your brain!
You may not realize it, but alcohol has some serious effects on your brain. Drinking large quantities of alcohol leads to neurodegeneration, which is the death of neurons in your brain. Over time, this can create cognitive problems such as memory loss.
The good news is that CBD could prevent that phenomenon. In a 2014 study, a group of scientists found that giving CBD to hungover rats had neuroprotective benefits. In other words, taking CBD protected the brains of the rats from alcohol-induced degeneration. Even if you’re not a frequent or heavy drinker, CBD still has some effect against neurodegeneration—which makes it a pretty ideal hungover cure.
Can I legally buy CBD?
CBD is legal on a federal level in the United States, as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC. However, it is still prohibited by certain state laws and doesn’t have FDA approval. We encourage you to consult a physician before you start taking CBD.
How to take CBD to treat a hangover
Waking up with a hangover is a painful experience. So the best thing you can do is to find a way to take CBD that gets it into your system efficiently. The three best ways to do that are:
- Placing CBD under your tongue (in the form of CBD oil drops, for example)
- Absorbing CBD through the skin (with a CBD ointment or a transdermal patch)
- Smoking or vaping CBD (using a CBD-based vape liquid or smoking CBD buds)
If you decide you want to go the more classic way and take a CBD capsule or gummy, then make sure you have something alongside it as well. CBD needs fat in order to be absorbed through your digestive tract, so make sure you have it with a rich latte, a peanut butter sandwich, or even a couple of hash browns.
When it comes to dose, there’s no hard and fast rule. You should adapt the dose of CBD you take depending on your symptoms (how bad your headaches are, how nauseous do you feel) and your size (how tall you are, how much you weigh). And remember, if you’re taking CBD in an edible form (capsule, CBD cookie), you’ll need to take a bit more because a lot of CBD gets lost in the digestion process.
Hangovers are never going to be a pleasant experience. But by taking a little bit of CBD, you can make your symptoms a lot more manageable: reduce your headache and nausea, lift your mood and ease your anxiety. Not to mention, you could even protect yourself from brain damage! So next time you’re feeling down in the dumps after a night of heavy drinking, why not give this non-psychoactive cannabis product a try?
CBD and nausea
2011 study on the effects of CBD oil on nausea and vomiting
2010 study on motion sickness and the role that the ECS plays
CBD and pain
2008 study on the effects of CBD for pain management
2018 review of research on cannabinoids and pain
2017 review of the effects of cannabis on pain
CBD and anxiety
2019 study on CBD for anxiety and sleep
2019 study on the effects of CBD for stress reduction
2018 review of the effects of CBD on physical and mental health conditions
CBD and depression
2017 review of marijuana and mental health
2014 study on the antidepressant effects of CBD
Neuroprotective benefits of CBD
2014 study on the neuroprotective benefits of CBD following alcohol use